Citi Bank is a full service bank with not online a strong online presence but also brick and mortar locations nationwide.
Citi Bank is known for their credit cards and their high yield savings products, but they offer the full ranges of banking products, from checking accounts to credit cards.
Given they are so large, it could be easy to dismiss them as competitive. However, Citi has a lot to offer. Read our full Citi Bank review below, and see how they compare to other banks on our best savings account page.
- Citi Bank is a full service brick and mortar and online bank
- Consistently high interest rates on deposits
- Typically have good bonus offers for new accounts
Citi Bank Details
Citibank Basic Checking
$12 (Can be waived)
Up to $700
Who Is Citi Bank?
You’ve likely heard of Citi Bank. It is one of the largest, full-service banks in the U.S. Citi provides both personal and business services, including checking, savings, CDs, retirement, wealth management, mortgages, credit cards, and more.
Citi has joined many online banks in providing high yield savings accounts. Although Citi is a brick and mortar bank, it’s high yield savings product is operated completely online, which is how it is able to achieve such a high rate.
What Do They Offer?
Citi’s high yield savings account is called Citi Accelerate. It is a little different from other high yield savings accounts because Citi requires customers to add a banking package. A banking package is another account type and includes additional services, depending on the package. Basically, to open an Accelerate account, you’ll need to open some other Citi account.
Accelerate rates are always near the top of the charts. The actual rate you’ll get depends on the state you reside in. Interest is compounded daily and paid monthly.
Citi has certainly chosen an odd route for customers wanting to open a high yield savings account. In marketing terms, this is called friction, since it causes the customer to stop and think if they really want to do this. Additionally, Citi has taken an extra step to ensure their banking packages remain a bit obscure. You have to dig into the details to understand what exactly you are signing up for. We’ll try to break each package down into something more understandable.
There are five packages to choose from:
Citigold — Mostly a service. Targeted at high net worth individuals. Includes an Interest Checking Account. It appears that the fee waiver is automatic.
Citi Priority — Similar to Citigold. Includes either a Regular or Interest Checking Account and Citi Accelerate Savings Account. Must maintain required balances of $30,000 across all accounts to waive monthly fee. Otherwise, the monthly fee is $30.
The Citibank Account — Just the Accelerate account. You can link other accounts to avoid the monthly fee, assuming balances meet the minimum. Combined balance in linked accounts must be $10,000 or a $25 fee will be accessed on checking and savings accounts. Non-Citi ATM fees are waived if balance requirements are met.
Citi Elevate Account — Unlimited waived and reimbursed ATM fees. Includes Interest Checking Account and Citi Accelerate Savings Account. Checking accounts requires a $5,000 balance to avoid $15/mo fee on checking and savings accounts.
Basic Banking — Unlimited check writing. Combined balance on accounts must be $1,500 to avoid checking $12/mo fee and savings account $4.50/mo fee. Or, savings account must have a minimum balance of $500. One qualifying direct deposit and bill payment also avoids fees.
Access Account — No overdrafts and no checks. The fee structure is the same as Basic Banking except that the checking account fee is $10 instead of $12.
Citi Accelerate can be used for overdraft protection through Safety Check. The overdraft fee is $10 but waived for Citigold and Citi Priority. If multiple overdrafts occur on the same day, Citi does only one transfer, which maxes out the overdraft cost to $10/day.
Through Citi’s mobile app, you’ll be able to access your Accelerate account.
Are There Any Fees?
Yes — depending on the package and balance, you may pay a $4.50/mo fee. A stand-alone Accelerate account requires a $500 balance to avoid the monthly fee. Because some packages require a checking account, there’s a potential for high overdraft fees. When your Accelerate account is linked to a checking account, the overdraft fee is $10/day, even if there are multiple overdrafts on the same day.
Be aware, because of Citi’s Banking Package arrangement, you might be opening other accounts, which will have their own fee structures.
How Do I Open An Account?
You can open an account completely online at Citi. You can also navigate the website menu to reach the Accelerate home page: Banking > Savings.
Is My Money Safe?
Yes - Citi deposit accounts are FDIC insured. Citi also uses bank-grade encryption on its website and mobile app.
Is It Worth It?
Citi’s banking packages setup isn’t exactly appealing, but you can get the Accelerate savings account by itself with the “The Citibank Account” package. While the stand-alone account does require a $500 deposit, you’ll earn a top notch APY through a full-service, brick and mortar bank. If you have additional Citi accounts, you can probably avoid the minimum balance by linking your other accounts to your Accelerate account.
Citi Bank Review
- Interest Rates
- Fees and Charges
- Customer Service
- Ease of Use
- Tools and Resources
- Products and Services
Robert Farrington is America’s Millennial Money Expert® and America’s Student Loan Debt Expert™, and the founder of The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials escape student loan debt to start investing and building wealth for the future. You can learn more about him here and here.
He regularly writes about investing, student loan debt, and general personal finance topics geared towards anyone wanting to earn more, get out of debt, and start building wealth for the future.
He has been quoted in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Fox, ABC, NBC, and more. He is also a regular contributor to Forbes.